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Cecile Corral

Most Key Retailers Post Reasonable Comp Gains

NEW YORK - The majority of key retailers tracked by HTT slid through September with fair gains in comparable store sales, in the 3.0% to 7.0% range.
     Only three - Bon-Ton, Stein Mart and JCP - posted negative comps over the five weeks.
     JCP's modest 0.6% comp decline marked an improvement from its 1.9% dip in August.
     For Bon-Ton and Stein Mart, September contributed to both retailers' ongoing monthly comp losing streak. But like JCP, their September results were better than those in August: for Bon-Ton, a 3.6% decline versus a 4.7 drop, and for Stein Mart a 1.7% dip compared to a 7.5% decline.
     Another feather in Stein Mart's September cap: the home textiles category was among the areas that posted positive comparable store sales in the month.
     Turning to September's winners, Costco continued to lead the pack with a 7.0% comp.
     Target Corp. came in second with a 5.3% comp increase, "somewhat ahead of expectations," said Gregg Steinhafel, chairman, president and ceo.
     "We experienced strong sales results throughout the month and across a broad array of merchandise categories, demonstrating Target's ability to deliver on both sides of our ‘Expect More. Pay Less' brand promise and generate strong financial performance even in this soft economic environment," he added.
     Target's home furnishings and décor comps increased in the low-single digit range, led by mid-single digit increase in domestics. The softest performance in the department came from decorative home.
     Ross Stores beat its closest competitor, TJX Cos., by 1 percentage point with a 5.0% gain.
     Michael Balmuth, Ross' vice chairman and ceo, said the chain's same-store sales bested expectations "for a 1% to 2% gain as our value-focused offerings continue to resonate with customers." Home was not among the lead businesses for the five weeks. Rather, juniors, dresses and shoes were the strongest merchandise categories.
     However, home was a bright spot for TJX Cos. in September, when the company's Home-Goods nameplate experienced an 8% comp increase.

WINNERS AND LOSERS

Same-store sales % change
WINNERS

Costco Wholesale Corp.

7.0%

Target Corp.

5.3%

Ross Stores

5.0%

Macy's Inc.

4.9%

Kohl's Corp.

4.1%

TJX Cos.

4.0%

LOSERS

The Bon-Ton Stores

(3.6)%

Stein Mart Inc.

(1.7)%

J.C.Penney Co.

(0.6)%

Johnson Redbook

Source: Johnson Redbook Retail Sales Average, a unit of Instinet, a Reuters company.

     "It's terrific to see Home-Goods' consistently strong performance continue," said Sherry Lang, svp, global communications.
     The home category was also a plus for the company's Marmaxx division with a 3% comp gain in the month.
     Macy's Inc. enjoyed 4.9% comp increase with "strong sales trends" at both Macy's and Bloomingdale's - both in stores and online. E-commerce sales for macys.com and blooming-dales. com combined were up 43.3% in September and 39.4% year to date.
     "This underscores that our business remains on track, despite the persistently negative macroeconomic news," noted Terry Lundgren, chairman, president and ceo. "We are feeling quite confident that we will continue to gain market share as we head toward the holiday selling season."
     At Kohl's, Jennifer Lopez and her ex, Marc Anthony, were credited with helping along the "significant improvement" - up 4.1% - in comps for September.
     Chairman, president and ceo Kevin Mansell said that "as expected, the Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony launches - the largest launches in our history - and the opening of 31 new stores, generated excitement which resulted in improved customer traffic."
     For Duckwall-Alco, September provided its eighth consecutive month of positive year-over-year sales results.
     Rich Wilson, president and ceo, said: "The improvement continues to come from several areas of the business, including commodities, softlines, and housewares divisions, with particularly solid performances in girlswear, ladies bottoms, infants, and shoes."

SEPTEMBER SALES FOR KEY RETAILERS

Five weeks ended October 1, 2011 (dollar amounts in millions) a

 

2011 SALES

2010 SALES

TOTAL % CHG.

SAME-STORE % CHG.

The Bon-Ton Stores Inc.

$286.9

$299.2

(4.1)

(3.6)

Costco Wholesale Corp. b c

$8,610.0

$7,510.0

15.0

7.0

Dillard's Inc.

$542.5

$532.3

2.0

3.0

Duckwall-ALCO Stores Inc.

$41.7

$40.1

4.0

3.0

Fred's Inc.

$170.5

$169.5

1.0

1.1

J. C. Penney Company Inc.

$1,426.0

$1,480.0

(3.6)

(0.6)

Kohl's Corp.

$1,631.0

$1,542.0

5.8

4.1

Macy's Inc.

$2,298.0

$2,181.0

5.3

4.9

Ross Stores Inc.

$726.0

$666.0

9.0

5.0

Stein Mart Inc.

$98.9

$101.5

(2.5)

(1.7)

Target Corp.

$5,923.0

$5,562.0

6.5

5.3

The TJX Companies Inc.

$2,200.0

$2,100.0

6.0

4.0

35 WEEKS

 

2011 SALES

2010 SALES

TOTAL % CHG.

SAME-STORE % CHG.

The Bon-Ton Stores Inc.

$1,709.4

$1,756.3

(2.7)

(2.1)

Costco Wholesale Corp. (d)

$87,050.0

$76,250.0

14.0

5.0

Dillard's Inc.

$3,869.6

$3,749.6

3.0

4.0

Duckwall-ALCO Stores Inc.

$311.4

$293.8

6.0

4.6

Fred's Inc.

$1,245.0

$1,225.0

2.0

0.6

J. C. Penney Company Inc.

$10,649.0

$10,785.0

(1.3)

1.6

Kohl's Corp.

$11,455.0

$11,093.0

3.3

1.5

Macy's Inc.

$15,840.0

$14,928.0

6.1

5.6

Ross Stores Inc.

$5,549.0

$5,121.0

8.0

5.0

Stein Mart Inc.

$746.5

$759.3

(1.7)

(0.8)

Target Corp.

$42,690.0

$40,868.0

4.5

3.4

The TJX Companies Inc.

$14,600.0

$13,800.0

6.0

3.0

a. Reporting priod vary among key retailers.
b. Total sales results in September include sales from the company's Mexico joint venture.
c. These comp results are for the U.S. division and do not include Costco's Mexico operations or the positive impacts of inflation in gasoline prices and strengthening foreign currencies. Including those impacts, comps for the month were up 11.0% in the U.S. division, 14.0% in the international division, and 12.0% for the total company.
d. Because it is on a different fiscal calendar than the other key retailers on this list, Costco's year-to-date sales and comp results reflect the past 52-week period, or full year. Comp results for fiscal 2011 here are for the U.S. division and do not include Costco's Mexico oprations or the positive impact of inflation in gasoline and strengthening foreign currencies. Including those impacts, comps were up 5.0% in the U.S., 10.0% in the international division, and 6.0% for the total company.

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